Injured road traffic accident victims are being encouraged to bring a claim for compensation without the help of specialist lawyers if their accident occurs on or after 31st May 2021.
A new “Official Injury Claim” online portal has been set up aimed at allowing anybody to represent themselves against insurers when they have been injured in a road traffic accident through no fault of their own. By stopping any recovery of legal fees, the new process is specifically targeting removing lawyers from the procedure.
However, the late production and publication of the Rules and Protocol relating to the new scheme, and now a complex users guide have left many wondering if the balance of power between clients and insurers has now swung far too in favour of the insurers.
On the back of concerns already being raised by lawyers currently acting for victims about the complexities of presenting and valuing a claim to ensure proper damages are received, Professor Roger Smith. the one-time director of JUSTICE and now a visiting professor at London South Bank University, has labelled the 64-page “users guide” for lay persons navigating the new Portal as “hopelessly complicated”. In a damning review, Professor Smith stated “The complexity and deficiencies of the insurers’ 64 page explanatory booklet suggests that the current package is hopelessly complicated and likely to prove unstable.”
He added that the guide had not been written in plain English and fell “hopelessly” between two stools. “It purports to help a self-represented claimant to make their way through a portal established by the insurance industry. But the underlying law is really complicated. The guide is neither advanced enough for a professional reader nor clear enough for non-professionals.”
Professor Smith noted that the government’s own guidelines advocate that written content should meet the minimum reading age of nine years to ensure it is easily understood, and authors should consider an adult with additional learning needs or an elderly relative with dementia trying to understand the information.
Referring to the guide, Professor Smith said: “It would be impenetrable to someone of that level of ability.”
He said a “64 page booklet stuck not the net with a few hyperlinks is not really good enough anymore”. The internet required “a more interrogative and interactive approach”.
Professor Smith concluded: “Clearly, technology can handle complexity. Computers will fly you to the moon. But that may not be enough if the process is one which users have also to understand”.
Notwithstanding the inability to recover legal fees, Hayward Baker will continue to help the injured victims of road traffic accidents after 31st May 2021 and any persons needing help or guidance pursuing a claim against the insurers should call 01329 227986, email email@example.com or fill out our online contact form
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If you’ve been involved in an accident or suffered an injury, you probably have many more questions than answers. Contact Hayward Baker on 01329 227 986 or complete our On-Line Form today to discuss the potential for a Personal Injury Claim.
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